Boyle High School gets high marks from two national rankings

Published 10:08 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Boyle County High School has been ranked as one of the best high schools in the state by two different school-ranking organizations.

BCHS was one of 42 high schools in the state to receive a College Success Award from the nonprofit, and one of five out of those award-winners to earn a 10 out of 10 score.

And BCHS was ranked the 20th best high school in Kentucky by U.S. News and World Report last month. The school’s overall score of 88.62 out of 100 possible points placed it 1,962nd in the nation out of 17,245 high schools.

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BCHS actually earned the College Success Award — given to the schools whose students go to college and then return for their second year — last year as well, but this year because the school climbed so far up the rankings, Principal Mark Wade got a letter from letting him know about the distinction in advance.

“I was aware of that organization, but I didn’t know exactly what we had won. I was very pleased to see that,” Wade said. “… I really like it because we are competing with some of the private schools or some of the magnet schools. The criteria to come to Boyle County High School is that you reside in Boyle County. We’re working with everyone, so we’re proud of that.”

The other schools that earned a 10 out of 10 in Kentucky are J. Graham Brown, Dupont Manual and Louisville Male high schools in the Jefferson County School District; and Highlands High School in the Fort Thomas Independent School District.

According to, Boyle County sends 59 percent of its graduates to college, and 86 percent of those students return for their second year of college. Those stats are both above the state averages of 53 percent of high school graduates who go to college and 76 percent who stay for their second year.

At the same time, Boyle’s percentage of low-income students is higher than the other 10-out-of-10 schools: 40 percent of Boyle students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches; the other four top-performing high schools range from 11 to 33 percent.

Wade said BCHS has been focused on helping students increase their ACT scores and pass advanced placement classes for several years now. The school also focuses on improving education for two specific “gap groups” — smaller groups of students with lower test scores than others. BCHS’ gap groups are special education and free and reduced-price lunch students, he said.

“We had a continued really good performance on the ACT and particularly, we had really good performance on our gap groups,” Wade said. “We’re very strategic with that. We do a lot of co-teaching in our classrooms because we want students to have the best first-time experience in any lesson.”

Factors in BCHS’ No. 20 ranking from U.S. News and World Report include:

• scoring better than 77 percent of U.S. high schools on a college readiness index, which looks at how many students passed an advanced placement or similar test;

• scoring better than 84 percent of U.S. high schools on a “college curriculum breadth” index, which looks at students who passed more than one advanced placement test;

• scoring in the top 8 percent of U.S. high schools for math and reading proficiency; and

• scoring better than 80 percent of U.S. high schools for graduation rate.

While the recent awards are largely about college readiness, Wade said college isn’t the only goal for BCHS students. The school uses individualized learning plans for every student to help them identify possible careers they would be well-suited for.

“Hopefully by their senior year, they are either really prepared for college education; they are really prepared for a skills training, as far as going to a trade school; they are really prepared for the military; or they are really prepared for the workforce,” Wade said. “We want them going into one of those four areas.”

Wade added he thinks the high school’s rankings really reflect back on the entire school district, because the elementary schools send their students to Boyle County Middle School, which sends students on to BCHS.

“Our district has some good schools that are really benefiting the high school,” he said.